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Questions about International Marriage Laws

In today’s global society, international marriages and marriages between individuals of different nationalities are becoming increasingly common. This can lead to complications because of differences in the laws, cultures and practices of different countries. Doubts about the legal standing of a marriage, and questions about your rights are bound to arise in such situations. Legal experts on JustAnswer receive and answer a number of questions about international marriages. Below are a few of them.

Is an international marriage or a marriage in a different country recognized as legal in the USA?

There are a myriad of international marriage requirements and procedures around the world. The marriage law in different countries may not be the same as the marriage law in USA. While a marriage in many countries is recognized by the United States, it is important to be sure that your marriage will be legally recognized both in the country of your marriage and the United States. For instance, civil ceremonies are accepted as "marriage" in many foreign countries whereas a religious ceremony by itself is generally not enough to meet the United States definition of marriage and meet international marriage requirements. If you are planning to get married overseas, you can consult an attorney or ask a Lawyer on JustAnswer whether a marriage in the country of your choice would be considered legal in the USA.

If someone from Wales overstayed their visa by one year in the US and got married, is the marriage valid? Will overstaying the visa term disbar him from entering the US in the future?

There should be no reason why that marriage would not be valid. While the marriage itself would be valid, in order to get a divorce at any time, the person from Wales would have to file for a divorce in the United States. When someone overstays a visa, it results in a 10-year ban on entering the country. Since he overstayed for 1 year, he cannot come back into the USA for 10 years. This could pose a problem if there should be a need to file for a divorce before the expiry of the 10 year ban. To find out what legal recourse you may have if faced with a similar situation, you can ask a Lawyer on JustAnswer.

If someone gets married in Mexico, do they have the same marital rights in the USA?

An international marriage is generally recognized as valid in the USA as long as the marriage is recognized as a valid marriage in the country where the marriage took place. In other words, if both partners were old enough to enter into the marriage, the marriage was voluntary, the marriage is not bigamous, the marriage is between a man and a woman, etc., there is no reason why the marriage would not be recognized in the USA. Assuming that there is nothing unusual about the international marriage, each partner has the same rights that a partner married inside the U.S. would have.

If a couple would like to avoid the community property marriage laws in California and other U.S. states, where could they go outside of the U.S. to marry to make their union religious but legally invalid in the United States?

You can have a religious ceremony anywhere and you simply do not go to the local authorities and take out a marriage license; if a marriage license is not requested at the local city or town hall and none is filed there, then any ceremony that you have with each other will not be considered legal. This is a common practice among celebrities. You could go to a church or any place of faith of your choice. You may be able to find a priest to marry you and cooperate by not insisting on a marriage license and not filing a marriage license with the local authorities after the ceremony. It is the marriage license that makes the ceremony legal, not the ceremony itself. This is true in most countries, including the USA. You would simply need to decide on where you want to get married.

If a US Judge determined that an overseas marriage was based on fraud and it was annulled in the US, could that US petitioner be considered a single and unmarried person before the annulment due to the conscious effort on the immigrants part to disappear once stateside?

Typically, an annulment voids the marriage. In other words, it would be as if the marriage never happened. An annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place (though some jurisdictions provide that the marriage is only void from the date of the annulment). You would need to check on the legal provisions of your jurisdiction.

Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer your questions about this and any other questions you may have about international marriage.
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